Am I Awesome Yet?

We are now well into 2013. How is it going for you so far?
Some of us have our goals established, written down, and we’re working on them.  If the 2013 Goals Project isn’t your thing, no worries, but I do hope that you have something you’d like to see happen over the next 12 months.
One of my goals is to become a more confident runner.  I’ve made no secret of this, and it was even on my 2012 list.  So, why haven’t I accomplished it yet?  I keep asking myself this same question.
During the last several months of 2012 I was very dedicated to running.  I was out there chasing the pavement all the time, and it felt great.  I mean, it was difficult for me still, but I could tell that I was improving.  Then the holidays came and I lost my mojo.
Now, I’m back to running regularly – three days per week – and I’ve added a new element to my training.  A running partner!
turkeytrot2012
I used to hate running with other people.  I avoided it like the plague.  I joined the Steel City Road Runner’s Club and had every intention on going on their group runs, but I didn’t.  Partially because shortly after I joined I hurt my ankle, but I get self conscious when I have to run with others.  I am slow, I amble, and when I run with others, I feel like I’m holding them back.  Dude and I ran the 2012 half marathon together.  He is a much faster runner than I am, but we vowed to do it together.  I felt bad throughout the whole race and even told him to just leave me behind.  He didn’t, of course, but I felt weird.
So when my friend told me that she wanted to become a more confident runner too, I didn’t jump up right away and suggest we run together.  I thought about it for a few days and then just decided to go for it.  It turns out, we run at the same speed!
This makes me so happy!  Let me type that again – THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!  (It deserves some caps action.)
So, we’ve been running together three days a week and I’m finding I’m getting back into my running groove.  It feels great!
There is a downside, however.  My own mental roadblock – lack of patience.
We are doing really well, and in the short time we’ve been doing this together, we have both regained some endurance we lost by slacking off over the holidays.  However, we’re both saying to ourselves, “Why aren’t we awesome yet?”
I have to keep reminding myself of all those corny cliches like “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  It’s true.  I believe that.  I tell my clients this very thing!  In fact, a large part of my practice is based on this exact principle.  But it’s always more difficult to put it into practice than it is to say, right?
And then today started and my friend (and marathon runner) Shannon posted this article about patience on Facebook.  It is about yoga (another place where I need to be more patient), but I think the message translates really well to just about anything, workout related or not.
Yeah, patience IS a bitch.  I don’t have much of it.  I want to be a really good runner, like, today.  Or maybe even yesterday.  But it isn’t going to happen.  I have to be patient.  I lost some momentum over the holidays, but I’m picking it back up now and I have to earn each and every step.  I’m stronger than I was a week ago, and I’ll be stronger still a week from now.  But I have to work hard throughout that week or I won’t gain anything.
So, here are some patience building strategies I’m using to help myself become a better, more confident runner:
I’m zooming in – When I wrote the post about zooming in I talked mostly about ticking things off of my enormous to-do list, but it works for running too.  I’m not even thinking about the half marathon that’s coming up in May.  All I’m thinking about is my next run (tomorrow morning).  And when I’m in the midst of that run, all I’m thinking about it putting one foot in front of the other.  Stressing about the big picture isn’t helping me.  I’m zoomed in on what I’m doing NOW and that’s all.
Keep a log – I am actually keeping two logs these days.  One for my food, and one for my workouts.  It seems like a tedious exercise to keep a log of any kind, but it’s rewarding and motivating when you take a look back on a week or a month and look at all you’ve done.  When I see what I’m doing now compared to what I was doing a month ago, it is concrete proof that hard work is paying off and that makes me feel less impatient.
Stay accountable to friends – My running partner and I are supporting each other.  When I feel slow, she pushes me and I hope I do the same for her.  We’re reminding each other of how far we’ve come already.  Having someone to coach and motivate has been invaluable to me.  We aren’t in competition.  We’re just supporting each other.
half marathon shirt
Lighten up – Remind myself what you’re training for.  Am I trying to WIN this half marathon?  No.  I’m not even trying to earn an entry to the race.  I already signed up and paid.  I’m in.  Barring any kind of catastrophe, I’ll run the race.  So, why am I putting all this pressure on myself to be fantastic?  It’s unnecessary and I don’t need the stress.  I remind myself all the time to put this in to perspective.  Sure, I want to improve, but I don’t want to take the fun out of it and turn it into a chore by being impatient and cranky.
I don’t think I’m the only one who has set course on a goal accomplishing mission and is already asking myself “Why aren’t I awesome yet?”. Surely I am not the world’s most impatient person!  It’s your turn to share with me how impatient you are and what you’re doing to turn it around.  Leave me a comment here or on Facebook.
 

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